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next on msnbc sunday, facing the flock. that embattled atlanta-area pastor talks to his congregation for the first time in the wake of sexual allegations. today he spoke out, and you're going to hear what he had to say. false arrest. a police officer arrests a teen for having sex with his daughter, and now he is under investigation. and making the grade. what will it take to get america's school children to score higher? good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt, and welcome to msnbc-w it's 11:00 a.m. here on the east coast, 8:00 a.m. out west. let's get to what's happening right now. the pastor at the center of a sex scandal in georgia speaking to his congregation today for the first time since four lawsuits were filed against him. four men claim bishop eddie long coaxed them into sexual relationships when they were just teens. the men say the bishop lured them with jewelry, cash, vacations, even cars. bishop long has denied all of the allegations. >> i have never in my life
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portrayed myself as a perfect m man. but i am not the man that's being portrayed on the television. >> for those of you who couldn't hear that, the first part of the pastor's statement said, "i have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man." and then he followed that up. anyway, i'm joined live right now from lithonia, georgia by nbc's than truong. good morning to you. i know you were inside that church this morning. talk about how the pastor was received today and anything else he had to say. >> well, ex, it was a packed house. more than 8,000 people in there. and bishop eddie long was received with a lot of applause and anticipation because keep in mind, this is a huge congregation here, with more than 25,000 members. many of them have been following long for more than 20 years. so when these allegations of sex acts between these two -- all these people here, there was a
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lot of questions and a lot of them emerged, and today long finally addressed them to the flock. >> i've been accused. i'm under attack. i am not a perfect man. but this thing i'm going to fight. i feel like david against goliath. but i got five rocks, and i haven't thrown one yet. >> reporter: and right afterwards, in between these two services, because there's an 11:00 service happening right now, eddie long called a press conference, and we were anticipating him to give a little bit more information about the allegations, possibly addressing some of the allegations, some of the information in these four lawsuits that were filed last week, or during the previous days here. but he said that on the advice of his counsel and his attorneys that he would not address it, but he said he would vigorously fight all the allegation that's are against him right now. alex? >> all right, than. and i know that earlier we were looking at live shots.
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the car seemed to be moving a little bit more quickly as they go into that 11:00 service. it looked as you said packed. 8,000 congregants there. how about this 11:00 a.m. service? do you think it will be about the same size? >> reporter: absolutely, alex. there's a ton of traffic coming in right now during the transition between the 8:00 and the 11:00. and there's a lot of people -- and there's only standing room, you know, only at this point. so there are so many people wondering what the bishop was going to say today and how he's going to deal and address all these allegations. so right now he's doing that with the congregation there at the 11:00. >> all right. nbc's than truong. thank you very much for that live report. a suspect in a deadly shooting near new jersey's seton hall university is still at large today as the community mourns a 19-year-old sophomore student who was killed. four others were also injured when a gunman opened fire at an off-campus party just after midnight on friday. witnesses say the gunman tried to cash the party but was kicked out. he later returned with a gun and a grudge and opened fire into that crowd.
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violence also broke out in california overnight. this time at a birthday party in east los angeles. in all, eight people were shot and three people stabbed when an argument spun completely out of control. at least one person is dead this morning. a police official said it was the most assaults she'd ever seen at a single crime scene. so far no arrests have been made. let's go to washington now, and a road trip for the president. he'll be stopping in four different states over the next three days, and the economy is what's topping the agenda. nbc's mike viqueira has packed his bag. he's going to hit the road with the president. but right now he stays at the white house for us. with a good morning to you, mike, what is the president trying to accomplish with this trip? >> reporter: well, it's an honor and a privilege to cover this or any white house. and yes, it will be a four huf state swing for the president. he'll start out in albuquerque. but let me mention one thing. tomorrow morning in the white house behind me here in the residence he'll be interviewed live for the "today" show as part of "education nation." after that he heads out to andrews air force base. and albuquerque, alex, you may have seen earlier this week out here in suburban virginia he
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gathered in a back yard with a number of people who'd been adversely affected by the economy, by the healthcare law in particular. they talked about their trials and tribulations, but they also talked about obama administration policy that's have helped them. and that's the sort of thing the president is going to be emphasizing here. starting in albuquerque, gathering at someone's home, talking about the economy. obviously, that is the number one issue in the upcoming elections. then he travels to madison, wisconsin. more overtly political trip there. he'll hold a rally for the democratic national committee. and then on to des moines, iowa, where again he'll be gathering for sort of a small, semi-private gathering. of course, we will be there with cameras. where people are going to be talking about the economy. and then on to richmond, virginia, finally wrapping up on wednesday, with a similar event. and this is the sort -- this is the thing, alex. it's all tied together. the president trying to emphasize what we've heard many times in the past several weeks, that when he took office the economy was in terrible condition and he's had to take some steps, some of them unpopular.
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but these were necessary. and now the economy is out of recession and yes, people are hurting but they're doing all they can, and without the things the administration has done, according to president obama, things would be a lot worse. so as we get closer to november 2nd, we're going to see more and more of this kind of appearance by the president, mixing politics and policy. alex? >> okay. mike viqueira, thank you very much for the live report. a california cop is under investigation this morning for reportedly making a fake arrest on a 15-year-old boy. the boy's parents say the policeman came to their home last month, then handcuffed their son after the teen had sex with the officer's 14-year-old daughter. the boy's stepfather recorded part of the incident on his cell phone, what you're seeing there. after a few minutes the officer takes the cuffs off the boy and says he's not going to arrest that teen after all. the officer's lawyer says his client was simply trying to scare the boy about his behavior. more residents in southern minnesota have been evacuated this weekend as flood waters continue to inundate towns. the governor's declared a state of emergency in 34 counties
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after as much as ten inches of rain doused parts of that region. businesses along the swollen cannon river remain underwater. hundreds fled hammond and zimbro falls yesterday as the water rose to the second floor of some homes. and now for the complete weather forecast let's go to the weather channel's jeff morrow. jeff, good morning. >> alex, fairly dry condition as cross the upper midwest today. so some good news for those recovering from any flooding. those waters should continue to recede. and we don't see any heavy rain there for several more days at the very least. where we are getting rain is in the southeast today, and we could really use it down here. we've been in a very dry period for quite some time. at least most of the summer. and very hot weather, too. so this will help cool us down a little bit. dry weather for much of the central parts of the country, including, as i mentioned, the northern plains. just south texas maybe getting some showers south of san antonio. and heating up in the west, we're cooling down in the east but we're heating up here in the west. looks like l.a. will get up into the 90s and even around salt lake city in the 90s today.
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denver up to 86. phoenix at 106. but here's that cool air here in the east. 70s for atlanta and raleigh and charlotte. something that a lot of folks have been looking forward to for quite some time. basically, all summer. alex? >> okay, jeff morrow, thank you for that. very latest weather advisories and the forecast where you are, be sure to head to weather.com. well, nbc is kicking off a nationally broadcast in-depth conversation about improving education in america. during an interactive summit on rockefeller plaza parents, teachers, and students will all come together with leaders in politics and business to discuss the challenges and opportunities in education today. i'll bring you a live preview from that plaza coming up at the bottom of this hour. we'll be followed by teacher town hall hosted by brian williams live here on msnbc from noon to 2:00 p.m. eastern. you can also check out our website, educationnation.com as there you can find out where your school ranks nationally as well as within your own state. you can also take a quiz with your child about learning. it's all there for you at educationnation.com.
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a sharp split in congress over policy and the direction of america. new comments this morning from a top republican as the gop's recently revealed agenda comes under attack. on "meet the press" congressman mike pence responded to criticism that the republican "pledge to america" is recycling old ideas. >> what we have in this proposal is not necessarily new, the idea of fiscal responsibility, pro-growth policies, openness and transparency in government are solid american ideas. what republicans are committing to in this "pledge to america" is taking important first steps in this congress to steer our national government back to those basic practices -- >> congressman -- >> let's bring in a.b. stoddard,
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associate editor and columnist for "the hill." a.b., good morning. >> good morning, alex. >> i want to talk about the pledge here because here's what republicans want to dpop they want to extend all bush-era tax cuts. they want to cap federal spending. and also repeal president obama's healthcare law. are these goals, a.b., that republicans will actually try to legislate, or is this more of a rallying cry to voters? >> well, it really is a political document that tries to answer the charges from democrats that the republicans are the party of no, that all they want to do is stop everything. obviously, it is a document with policy proposals. they do want to repeal parts of the healthcare law. they do want to extend all the bush tax cuts. they do want to cap federal spending. but in terms of the really tough stuff, which is curbs on entitlement spending, things that really are going to cut the budgets, they didn't go there. they kept it a very limited document because they're trying to build consensus among themselves. they didn't want any republican to come out and disagree and start fighting about it. so it's a limited document
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designed to present serious policy proposals but also take care of the politics as well. >> okay. politically speaking, a.b., is this pledge seen in different ways here? some saying it's an attempt to win over tea party conservatives, others saying it's targeting independent voters. in your opinion, to whom is this pledge aimed? >> both. i mean, really to ensure that they sweep into a big enough sizable majority, alex, and you know the wind is at their backs, the enthusiastic voters are with the republicans, they need to secure independents, who are still skeptical of them, who voted against them 2006 and 2008, and they of course need to assuage the tea party. they don't want the tea party turning against them. so they're really talking to both groups. >> but i'm thinking are you able to, politically speaking, bring home groups like that? you've got the independents perhaps in the middle and then you have the tea partiers over to the way right. i mean, is one pledge to america going to be able to bring in everybody under the republican tent? >> no. but this is an attempt because what the independent vote has in common this year with the tea
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party is an anger over a big intervention of the government into the private sector. >> we'll hear more to come certainly from you in the weeks to come. thank you so much. you can catch the full "meet the press" interview today at 2:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. let's go back now to the megachurch pastor at the center of a growing sex scandal. in fact, right now bishop eddie long is at services for the second time today. today is the first day that he has faced his congregation since four men accused him of forcing them into sexual relationships when they were just teenagers. bishop long has denied all the allegations, and he told his congregation this morning that he vows to fight the charges but he won't be doing it on tv. >> by the counsel of my lawyers, they are advised me not to try this case in the media. i am not going to try this case in the media.
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it will be tried in the court of justice and dealt with in the court of justice. >> i am joined now live by publicist terrie williams, the president and founder of the terrie wirmz agency and the author of "black pain it just looks like we're not hurting." she's also co-founder of the stay strong foundation, which means she's a very busy woman. as a publicist how do you think the bishop is handling the scandal thus far? >> the one thing i would be most interested in hearing him address, because i heard him speak about the amazing work that they do at new birth -- >> in his news conference. >> in -- yes. is to talk about how these young men are doing because i think that -- i just believe in general that we're born innocent creatures and then things happen to us, people say things to us, do things to us, and we don't
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process it and we don't get help. so we're traumatized. and hurting people hurt people. so the notion that any young person would be violated in that way. not saying that he did, because he's denying it at this point in time. but i think that that's an important issue to address. >> that i think is very important. but he did not do so. do you think that by doing so perhaps his lawyers are saying to him don't go anywhere near this? which he did not in that news conference. you're right. he talked about the things which he's accomplished in the big community scale. >> yes. >> but he didn't address this. >> right. and that to me is a little disturbing because we know, for instance, 1 in 6 boys are molested. and so it's a harder conversation. not less than when girls are molested, but it's a harder conversation for a male child to talk about being violated. so that's what i would like to hear. because of my work with youth, mentoring young people through the stay strong foundation, i care about how they're doing.
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i think a lot of times adults always want to be the strong one and don't want to appear vulnerable, so we don't tell young people who we really are. >> i want to pick up on the vulnerability there in terms of how this is affecting the african-american community in general, because it has been noted earlier on this program that the church can provide a greater epicenter on average within that community than it does, say, in the white community. so this has the potential, you know, domino effect that could be pretty severe. >> yes, it could. and you know, the reality is we tend to put our leaders unfairly on pedestals, where they do not belong because they are human, frail, challenged individuals, as are we all. the black community, the church in particular, is a very close-knit one. and i think that it really is necessary and there's a tendency for folks in the black church to be very homeophobic. and when you cannot be who you
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are, it cause problems for you, being able to move through the world. so i would just -- and i -- you know, mental health is something that -- it's an issue we really have to address. >> it is on many levels. and i want to thank you, terrie williams, for joining us this morning. >> thanks, alex. >> thank you. exploring the problems in america's schools and searching for solutions, all part of "education nation." the week-long project begins today, and we're taking you live to learning plaza for the kickoff here on msnbc sunday. was growing back... i was like, yes, this works... [ male announcer ] only rogaine is proven to regrow hair in 85% of guys. puhh puhh puhh putt and that's it. [ male announcer ] stop losing. start gaining.
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her stuff to pay off her debts. now, the items up for sale include her nursing bra, baby clothes, and a bikini that she wore on the cover of tabloid magazines. and here is what sold. eight devil costumes once worn by the octuplets. they went for $50. a lakers jersey signed by suleman fetched 125 bucks. someone paid $85 for a refrigerator that once stored baby formula. suleman also charged $10 for a picture with her and $100 to pose with her and the octuplets. suleman's lawyer says the single mother of 14 is considering going on welfare. a florida mother is facing child abuse charges after encouraging a vicious fight between two teenage girls caught on tape. nbc's kerry sanders has more. >> go for the head shot. >> reporter: as far as afterschool fights go, this one was a doozy. >> back up, back up, back up. >> reporter: in a vacant field in palmetto, florida, two teenage girls taking each other on. cheered on by dozens of
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classmates. and by one other, who police say should have known better. the mother of one of the fight girls, 39-year-old april newcombe. a manatee county deputy writes in his report that april newcombe actively encouraged her daughter to physically fight. investigators have three videos of the event. this one was posted on youtube. in one video the deputy writes, "it shows april walking towards her daughter as she jumps around preparing herself for the fight." the deputy concludes that "april never stopped the fight." rather, she encouraged it. in the report the deputy says the mother told him she showed up to the fight to make sure nothing got out of hand and to make sure her daughter did not get hurt. investigators say newcombe says she was there because her daughter sustained a skull fracture from a previous incident and april knew she was going to fight and wanted to
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make sure her daughter's nemesis did not hit her in the back of the head. >> get up. come on, baby, let's go. >> reporter: as the five-minute-long fight ensued, april newcombe never called 911, and according to investigators never even tried to stop the brawl. and that was a mistake. manatee county, florida deputies say by not taking an active role and instead letting two 16-year-olds go at each other april newcombe committed a crime. she's new charged with child abuse. >> she is encouraging her daughter in this fight and, again, doing absolutely nothing to stop it. >> reporter: psychologist jeff gardere. >> if a parent is saying go ahead and fight, you can go ahead and do this thing, in some ways the kids don't want to let their parents down. >> reporter: under questioning, police say april newcomb admitted "of course we're both wrong and i understand that and i understand where you all are coming from." investigators say the teens could still face disciplinary
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actions. for "today," kerry sanders, nbc news, ft. lauderdale. today's tough economic times underscore the need now more than ever for a good sound education. but for so many schoolchildren the challenges of making the grade are difficult and far too many children face hurdles they cannot overcome. we will look at the problems in our schools and the potential fixes as we begin our coverage of "education nation," next here on msnbc sunday. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. lord of the carry-on. sovereign of the security line. you never take an upgrade for granted. and you rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go. you can even take a full-size or above.
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and nbc. in a moment we'll have results of a new survey on education from the "wall street journal" on nbc news. but first here are your fast five headlines. embattled atlanta-area pastor eddie long told his congregation today that he will preside over services next sunday as usual and says he is not the man portrayed on television. bishop long is facing four lawsuits that claims he coerced four followers into having sex. the bishop has denied all allegations. heavy rain in flooding in southeastern mexico and guatemala. also raising fears of mudslides and flash flooding. the first of three specially built capsules to rescue those 33 trapped miners in chile has arrived at the mine. two backup capsules will arrive next week. rescues could happen in november. in australia environmental protesters stormed the world's largest coal port before dawn today halting operations at all three terminals. and bounding for orbit. the air force last night launched a surveillance satellite that will be on the
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lookout for debris, satellites and other space objects as well. and those are your fast five headlines. and now to our special series, "education nation." to get the conversation started we have a brand new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll in which it shows a majority of americans are pretty pessimistic about public schools. so take a look. 58% think that public schools grade k through 12 need major changes or complete overhaul. 36% think only minor changes are needed. and then just 5% think public schools are working pretty well. these numbers come against the backdrop of a new documentary that takes a critical look at america's education system. it is called "waiting for superman." we're going to talk more about that. but now nbc news education correspondent rehema ellis joins me live from the plaza with more. and with a good morning to you, you're inside one of those cool kiosks. i know the critics, though, rehema, are calling this documentary very powerful yet controversial. >> you're right, alex. this movie will make some people in the education reform movement stand up and cheer, while some others will cringe.
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but like it or hate it, this film has ignited a conversation in the nation about why america's children are waiting. >> i don't care what i have to do. i don't care how many jobs i have to obtain. but she will go to college. >> reporter: it's a film about the dreams of millions of families told through the eyes of a few. >> i want to be a nurse. i want to be a doctor. >> reporter: "waiting for superman" shows how five unforgettable kids and their parents, from harlem to silicon valley, struggle to get out of failing neighborhood schools and into public charter schools. daisy, a fifth-grader whose parents dropped out of high school, is desperate to avoid her district middle school in l.a. >> by the time she leaves stevenson, only 13% of her classmates will be proficient in math. >> reporter: the crude reality is the children's dreams are tied to the luck of the lossry. >> cross your fingers. >> reporter: the director, davis guggenheim, also directed the
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oscar-winning documentary about global warming "an inconvenient truth." the truth about his latest film, guggenheim says, is that the topic scared him. >> i think i felt like a lot of parents when you think about public education. you read the paper and there's a lot of noise. it's complex. >> reporter: guggenheim had a change of heart while driving his kids past three public schools to drop them off at a private school. >> that idea that my kids are having a great education but the kids in my neighborhood were not. that idea haunted me. >> reporter: but the president of the american federation of teachers, portrayed in the film as a staunch defender of the failed status quo, says the movie is unbalanced. >> not one public school was pictured in this film and not one public school teacher, and we have great public school teachers around the country. >> let's get started. >> reporter: some other educators say the film could be a wake-up call. the 2010 version of the 1960s images during the civil rights movement. >> people didn't really want to make change until they saw black people having dogs sicced on
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them and water getting hosed on them down in the street. you see that movie, you'll feel the same way right afterwards. >> reporter: if people don't have any children, let ahone in public or private school, why should they care about the issues you're discussing in the movie? >> some of these kids are more likely to go to prison than they are to college. and we're going to pay for them one way or the other. >> reporter: anthony, a washington, d.c. fifth-grader, knows why education matters to him. >> i want my kids to have better than what i had. >> reporter: and "waiting for superman" makes a compelling case. >> and the last number? >> reporter: that america's children shouldn't have to wait for better schools. well, people come down one way or the other about this film, alex. one thing we're not hearing, no one is saying that the facts revealed in the film are not true. and there are some stunning facts in the film. alex? >> there absolutely are. we're going to get to talking with them in just a moment. but rehema, i want to tell everyone about the event you're involved in coming up at noon eastern here on the learning plaza and how everyone watching
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right now, the folks at home can get involved. >> well, alex, in this tent where i am right now, with pro meetingius as a backdrop, we've assembled 300 teachers who are going to participate in a teacher town hall. in addition, 5,000 teachers have signed up online. they've registered to be a part of this conversation. we've got a full screen that we'd like to show people of how if they are teachers they can also join in the conversation. you can register at educationnation.com or go on facebook and twitter or give us a text message, and you can also e-mail your questions at educationnation@nbcuni.com. we want teachers to get involved in this conversation because whether they've been maligned rightly or wrongly, they are on the front lines of teaching our children and we need to hear from them. >> absolutely. all right, rehema ellis, much more from you on nbc today. thank you so much. well, "waiting for superman" finds fault with teachers unions in america, making the claim that they protect the bad teachers. randi weingarten is the
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president of the american federation of teachers, and randi joins us right now. and a good day to you. as you know, randi, the teachers are not portrayed flatteringly in this film. what do you have to say about that? do you think that people are missing something? >> well, you know, and i've said this to davis myself several times. >> the documentary producer, we should say. >> the documentary producer. that ultimately there was not one of the great public schools in america that was portrayed in the film. there was not one of the 3 million public school teachers, great as they are, that were portrayed in the film. there was not one community that has been turning around its schools portrayed in the film. so ultimately, the film doesn't have that kind of balance. now, our union, we are a union that ha been workid been workin has been working with the gates foundation and others to overhaul the valuation processes for teachers throughout this country. that's not a union that's standing in the way of reform. we are a union that's been fighting for school equity and for finances for kids,
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particularly the kids that were portrayed in the film. that's not a union standing in the way of reform. and we're a union that's been working with anybody we can to turn around curriculum to make sure that every kid has a decent, engaged curriculum and a great teacher. so the issue is not that the film doesn't portray -- not that the film isn't moving. of course it is. and we have to help all kids get a great education not by chance or privilege but by right. but we have to look at what's working and scale it up, and there has to be that balance. >> and to an extent you have done that. i want to get with what's happened that you've done in the state of colorado. and you went about doing a teacher tenure reform bill. it was passed. you defied the n.e.a. union. they weren't on board with this. but you said no, we're going ahead. so when you look at that in terms of weeding out the, quote, bad teachers, tell me how that is being done via tenure or on a day-to-day basis of the ones that aren't even up for tenure. >> so the bottom line is what
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the countries that outpace us do is that they invest in teachers. and that colorado law was not just about tenure reform. it was about how do we invest in teachers up front, preparing them, respecting them, and supporting them. and what we have seen around the country. and colorado is just an example. is that my union, the american federation of teachers, and our locals throughout the country are doing reform-minded problem-solving contracts to try and help ensure that we have a path to great teaching. but we can't do it alone. we need to have robust curriculum that is connected with these new higher standards. we need to have conditions, learning conditions and teaching conditions so we can differentiate instruction amongst kids. if you have 50 kids in your class, you're going to have a much harder time than with 20 kids. >> i want to say, jonathan all thor, an msnbc analyst with whom i spoke a short while ago, he was echoing that exact same
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lesson. he said you've got to have everybody on the same playing field, we have to rise up to the level and set that standard. who's responsible for that? >> so we are. you know, and this is probably my biggest disappointment in terms of guggenheim's film. because it's outdated. if you look at what's happened in the united states in the last two years -- and nbc is part of it by doing this education nation program -- we have been in district after district doing the problem-solving things we have to do. our union and our teachers have stepped up. they need to be supported in this. it's a really tough job. and teachers feel really demoralized right now because it can't just be them. parents, kids, community, all of us have to step up. >> and randi, while i'm talking, i want to get to a letter you got from a teacher. just read me a salient point here, this teacher -- >> this is a letter i got from a teacher last night after i saw her in the park, and she was crying about the film, saying, "it dunce portray us." she's a teacher who came into teaching after 9/11, took a 50%
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pay cut and said i get to school almost an hour before it opens and i leave two hours after school each day and i spend four or five hours at home each night, i pay, i take out of my pocket over $2,000 each year on classroom supplies, i love my kids, i want some support and support for my calling. these are the teachers of america. now, do we have to do something about bad teachers? absolutely. do we have to overhaul evaluation systems? absolutely. but we need to respect and support the good teachers. >> all right. randi weingarten, thank you so much. we're going to see a lot more of you here on msnbc with brian williams. meantime, new focus on the technology in the classroom. is it the wave of the future? imagine no pencils or paper or books. we're going to introduce you to a remarkable program that changes the way kids learn. [ female announcer ] any hair shines in the spotlight. aveeno hair shines in real life. new aveeno nourish plus shine with active naturals wheat smooths damaged cuticles for 75% more shine in one use.
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we are back here live at learning plaza at 30 rockefeller center here in new york as we preview nbc and msnbc's "education nation" series. at noon nbc's brian williams will host a teacher town hall, bringing together teachers from across this country to brainstorm ideas and highlight the challenges of today's education system. msnbc, the teacher town hall, starts live at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific time right here in 15 short minutes. technology in the classroom is a big part of the exhibit here on learning plaza. a recent survey of teachers found that 81% believe new technology in the classroom is not only important but essential. vanessa hawk of our sister network telemundo found one school in the miami area that's embracing that idea. >> for reasons, for exploration -- >> reporter: in this high school there are no books or pencils. >> it's a whole new concept. we use our computers to research and take notes on our computers.
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it's really nice. >> reporter: mario and his classmates learn with laptops, wireless internet, and smart boards. and they can download their homework and class schedule on their own ipods. here the lessons are taught through games. for example, in this history class in order to know who's going to answer next, they just roll the dice. the school program was created by miami-dade county superintendent alberto carvalo, who is also the principal of iprep. >> what we're doing here is actually providing the environment where students use technology as a way of living that accelerates their learning. >> reporter: the school was designed like a giant ipod, with a central classroom and several small rooms where students take virtual classes at the same time as teens from other states or countries. >> very possible to have a student in -- taking science in miami, one in gainesville, one in uk and, you know, anywhere around the world really. >> reporter: casey flamedo
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applied to iprep because she was bored at her old school. >> you actually learn a lot more, like faster. >> you learn much more? >> yeah. so it's been three weeks of school and i figure i learned like what i learned like in a whole semester. >> reporter: they learn music by downloading their favorite songs from itunes. their physical education instructor is the wii. the most important thing, this teacher sarksz is that they are given the tools they need for the future. >> we're preparing them to be successful. >> reporter: a way to learn that most students say makes them feel like they're not in school. vanessa hawk, nbc news, miami. up next, one man's story of reviving a school left for dead. he took a charter school that had been failing and turned it into one of the biggest success stories in this country. what was the key to doing it? does he have any answers to the big education problems in the u.s.? we're going to ask him next on msnbc sunday. thank you for calling usa prime credit. my name
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there's actually a revolution happening now, of young educators, teachers that are reforming the system. the question is, are we as a country going to pay attention to this revolution. because they're now proving it's possible to educate every kid. >> that was part of my earlier conversation with filmmaker of the new documentary "waiting for superman." tonight he's going to join joe and me this evening at 8:00 eastern time right here on msnbc. well, facebook co-founder mark zuckerberg spoke with chris christie yesterday about the donation to the nuke school system. he said a lot of research went into his decision to donate to the struggling newark school
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district. >> after we made these changes and improved the education in newark, i think these are the guys to get it done. >> ben is a guy who got it done. he's the former of principal indian public charter school in oakland, california. and we'll get to him right now. he is also the author of "crazy like a fox." a good day to you, ben. >> good day. >> i know that you turned around a failing charter school. can you first of all tell us how bad it was and how you did it? >> well, we were there, and we had -- the school was set up for computers, high-tech, but they didn't have any textbooks. they were sitting around playing, they had culture and technology. technology is not the answer and culture is not the answer. the answer is hard work. and a textbook. you really need a textbook in a school if you're going to be successful. i heard this school in miami, that they're going to offer
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technology. let's look at their test scores, look at their s.a.t.s. i guarantee you, our school which does not have technology, will whip them every day. in neighborhoods where i found with technology and poor neighborhoods, we got robbed. they broke in our schools and steal the technology. they're not going to steal a book. you can't pawn an algebra book. >> what's interesting here, you also said money is not the answer. why not, and in terms of all that money, $100 million going to the newark schools, what's the best way to spend this donation? >> well, mr. zuckerman, i think he's got good intentions, but his $100 million is not going to have a dent. if you give the money to the newark public school system, they're going to waste it. as mr. bill gates already knows, he gave money to the oakland public schools. we didn't get one penny. and we have five of the best schools in the state. >> all right. i want to make sure we get his name right, because it's
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zuckerberg. he absolutely deserves that respect with the $100 million donation. but they say the schools underperform because they are underfunded. if that's not the case, what do you think the problem is? >> i think the problem is the teachers union, i love what the teachers union president said, she's concerned about of the teachers. not once did she mention the students. she talks in the documentary that they don't mention teachers in the good schools. her job is to take care of teachers. a principal's job, my job is to take care of the students. and that's the problem. we're so concerned about the teachers, we're so concerned about the school board members, the union, we're concerned about everybody but the students. >> ben, can't you do both? can't you take care of both the students and the teachers? >> i think -- in our school, we do both. but we make sure that our teachers understand our priority is to educating the students. and when the students get a great education, we reward the teachers. our teachers are the highest
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paid teachers in oakland, california. but in oakland public schools, you have over 10,000 blacks and not one palsed a.p. calculus. those that passed came from one school, american public indian high school, which is a charter school. not one black passed the calculus? they should be embarrassed. >> so ben, if you have the power to change one variable in the education equation, what would it be? what do you think is the most urgent change that needs to be made? >> really, it's two, math and reading. every child in the public school needs an an hour and a half of mathematics and language arts every day. it's that simple. >> now, ben, there are some people for whom math does not come easily. you hear that right brain/left brain. if you have students in your school that are frustrated
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because they don't get it, isn't that possible that there are some kids that are going to be stronger in other areas than math? and they need to focus on that? >> well, they're stronger because they work. if you're overweight you can say, well, i'm overweight, i was born overweight, but you can work on being overweight. if a child comes into our school is overweight, we assign them a tutor because he's overweight. if someone comes in and has trouble with math, oh, you're sleth brain -- that's an excuse. you need more help. that's what any kid who is low in math, all you have to do is give them a tutor, work with them, give them more help. >> all right. well, ben, former principal of the american indian charter school there, and author of the book "crazy like a fox." thank you for joining us. >> thank you. that does it for me. do stay with us, up next nbc's brian williams will be joined by hundreds of teachers from around the country for a town hall
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MSNBC News Live
MSNBC September 26, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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